636 MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE
Fatal Dose and Fatal Period.— Not certain, but death may occur In a few minutes
if the air is highly concentrated -with methyl chloride.
Treatment— Remove the patient from the source of danger, and administer oxygen
by inhalation. Give by the mouth or rectum a solution of sodium bicarbonate with
glucose as a remedy against acidosis. Treat the convulsions by potassium bromide.
Post-mortem Appearances.— Petechial haemorrhages in the gastric mucous membrane,
in the epicardium and under the pleurae. The blood is usually dark and fluid. The
lungs are congested and oedematous. The brain is congested and cedematous. The liver
shows fatty degeneration. The kidneys are congested and show cloudy swelling.
Medico-Legal Points.— Accidental cases of poisoning may occur from the inhalation
of methyl chloride used in domestic refrigerating machines which are defective or are
When inhaled for a prolonged period, methyl chloride causes fatty degeneration of
the heart, liver, kidneys and central nervous system.
Methyl chloride is not a cumulative poison but, after absorption, it is decomposed
into methyl alcohol which accumulates in the system and is responsible for causing fatty
degeneration of the organs. Methyl chloride also splits up into hydrochloric acid and
formic acid. The hydrochloric acid causes acidosis and the formic acid is excreted in
Methyl Bromide, CHaBr.— This is a non-inflammable, colourless gas, having an
ethereal odour, and is easily compressible into liquid form. It is employed in the manu-
facture of certain dyes and hi the preparation of antipyrin. It is also used as a refri-
gerant, fire extinguisher, insecticide and fumigant.
When inhaled, methyl bromide produces irritation of the upper respiratory tract,
headache, giddiness, nausea, vomiting, and disturbances of vision and speech. These are
followed by an interval of hours and days during which the victim is able to carry on
his work without experiencing any toxic symptoms. Then, the symptoms suddenly
appear. These are inco-ordination, muscular cramps, paralysis of the limbs, delirium,
mania, bronchopneumonia or pulmonary oedema, cyanosis and death.
Contact with liquid methyl bromide causes severe vesicular irritative dermatitis
and burns of the second degree.
The treatment consists in the administration of adrenaline chloride or glutathione.
The post-mortem appearances are congestion of the brain, lungs, liver, spleen and
AMYL ALCOHOL, CoHu.OH
This is the chief constituent of fusel oil formed in the manufacture of potato brandy
from which it is obtained after washing with water and subsequent purification. It is a
colourless liquid, having a disagreeable, penetrating odour and an acrid taste. It is very
slightly miscible with water, but it mixes in all proportions with alcohol and ether. It
is employed in the manufacture of fruit essences, aniline dyes, etc., and is also used as
an extraction agent.
Symptoms. — These are flushed face, contracted pupils, restlessness, loss of muscular
power, unconsciousness, coma and collapse. The breath may have an odour resembling
amyl nitrite or jargonelle pear. In acute cases the symptoms may be delayed for several
hours. When the vapours are inhaled, the symptoms are irritation to the lungs with
headache, nausea, giddiness, choking sensation, and inability to stand or walk.
Treatment— Wash out the stomach and give stimulants. Give by inhalation oxygen
and carbon dioxide. Start artificial respiration, if necessary. Keep tap the body heat
by warm blankets, etc.
Post-mortem Appearances.— The smell of amyl alcohol is noticed on opening the
stomach, the mucous membrane of which is soft and congested. The abdominal organs
are congested The lungs are congested. The brain is congested and the ventricles are
usually full of fluid which may emit the smell of amyl alcohol.
AMYL NITRITE, CsHn.ONO
j- *M?^uilproduS;?o by JHrStera<;tion of ^ous ac*d and amyl alcohol that has been
distilled between 262° and 270°F. It is a yellow, volatile liquid, possessing a fragrant
odour and a pungent, aromatic taste, and is insoluble in water, but miscible with alcohol
and with ether. It is used as a vasodilator, the official dose for inhalation being from
£ to 5 minims. °
Th* ^Pt0mS*"~?? swallowing large doses of amyl nitrite the stomach becomes eroded,
The patient complains of a burning pain in the stomach, nausea, vomiting and cyanosis.
^A' ^ P^* ^conies thready, and he gets convulsions, passes into a state of coma
and dies from failure of the respiratory centre. When inhaled, it causes dilatation of